APOTHEOSIS / Fulfillment of the Quest

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Fulfillment of one’s quest promotes “apotheosis” in Joseph Campbell’s terms pertaining to the Hero Cycle. That is our topic for September. In The Hero With 1000 Faces, Campbell presents apotheosis as an initiation stage by which duality is dissolved into unity.

The merging of opposites: masculine + feminine, positive + negative, physical + Divine; such fulfillment transcends merely apparent paradoxes.  Neutrality is achieved, being neither for nor against. Equanimity allows us to resolve differences and internal as well as external conflicts. Stasis occurs at the eye of the storm. From here one attains Higher Consciousness.

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Freedom is born; a new, heightened sense of freedom from any attachments. Now one is free to move on to new adventures, no longer trammeled by whatever tension of opposites might have brought him/her to overcome obstacles and navigate stormy seas to arrive here.

In life we are constantly asking ourselves—if we are at all reflexive about our progress, or Being—who am I? And then again, who am I, Now? This ‘I’ that we are asking after, this Higher Self, resides always in the Apotheosis state.

I think of Rumi, who must certainly have many a poem about apotheosis. Here’s a verse:

“Through your love

existence and nonexistence merge.

All opposites unite.

All that is profane

becomes sacred again.”

 – Rumi

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Have you experienced times in your life when cycles have shifted and you have felt a special calm after fulfilling some deep quest? Sometimes when I have worked on a difficult project and have completed that successfully, either alone or with others in service, I know, as Frederico Lorca expressed so poetically:

“Something has come

to an end here,

It has been

accomplished.”

I feel the ending of a cycle as an equinox in my life. It has often seemed to me in such a moment that I could willingly die then, translating my life experience into new forms in another dimension. But then, so far anyways in this life, the next project or adventure appears on the horizon, so I am off again to meet it.

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The attainment of Fulfillment for any one Quest brings strength and understanding we can apply evermore.

Do you have a story to share?  I invite and welcome your comments and stories.

The Sacred Marriage

 

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This month let’s focus on the stage of the Hero’s Cycle known as the Sacred Marriage.    To Joseph Campbell, drawing from Jung, this is that stage by which the masculine and feminine energies of the Hero are merged, allowing the Hero to go forth as a more integrated Whole Self as s/he continues to pursue their Quest.

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To Jung more directly, this is a union of the Animus and Anima and brings about a major transformation of character.  If it represents the actual goal of the individual, it can even be seen as an alchemical achievement of the highest magnitude: Mysterium Conjunctionus!   Masculine + feminine (both energies coexisting within both men and women), or Soul + Spirit, or even Earth + Heaven/ Human + Divine: this is the apex of integrated unity, gold out of lead.

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While the Sacred Marriage is often depicted via an actual Marriage of two characters, ultimately it is an internal achievement, as the individual attains a balance within of their animus and anima traits. Because of this, it can occur within anyone as a solo accomplishment or it could manifest as a relationship union.

Integration or even fusion as the Sacred Marriage represents is a significant spiritual development for it allows the Self to emerge as fully formed, as an expression of Soul.

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A CONTEMPLATION AND JOURNALING PROMPT:

Can you relate to the topic of the Sacred Marriage?

Do you feel you have achieved this INTERNALLY, whether or not you are partnered with your spouse or a significant other?

If so, what does this open up for you in terms of pursuing your greater goals? If not, how shall you achieve this; again, internally?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Finding Forrester: A Golden Child Better Ending Story

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This week after the horrific string of homicides in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas, in thinking of the Golden Child archetype I find myself recalling the story of Finding Forrester. In itself this story depicts a ‘better ending’ scenario when the reclusive author William Forrester (Sean Connery) intervenes on behalf of his young protegee, the brilliant, inner city genius Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown) when he is accused of plagiary out of crass and ignorant racial bias. Surely a Black basketball player brought across town to bring a pennant to the prep school could not outshine his preppy White schoolmates at the scholastic tradition of writing. Yet, he does.

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Were  Jamal, represented as 17-18 at the time of the story that appeared in the year 2000, alive today he would be in his mid-thirties. I wonder, what might this talented author have to say to us, this week? Having lived through callous bigotry and appreciating the cultural camaraderie of his inner city family and friends–knowing deeply that Black lives do indeed matter!–, I do not believe he would be silent, today. Having befriended one man whose own race was not a deterrent to his becoming a mentor who also was open enough to learn equally from his younger mentee, Jamal would not be hasty, I believe, to resort to racial hatred himself.

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I believe Jamal might exhort his reader to separate egregious error from the human condition itself. He might call upon our common potential for doing Good and attend not to the terror or carnage so much as to our coming together across all divides for all of us to contemplate and mourn this senseless violence.

Enough, he might title his message today. I only hope Jamal Wallace would not retreat to becoming a recluse himself. We need his awareness. We need to be revealed and healed. We need each of us, each of you, to look deeply within and then embrace one another, with hearts and arms open, with careful words that bridge the chasm of indifference.

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/finding-forrester-2000

Bury the Hatchet

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As a final post about the Warrior archetype in relation to the life metaphor Life is an Ensemble Cast of Archetype Characters, it seems fitting to recall the story of Deganawida, the Peacemaker who along with Hiawatha established the great League of the Iroquois that served as a model of peaceful governance for the Articles of Confederation that presaged the US constitution.

The phrase “bury the hatchet” derives from an Iroquois ceremony whereby the Six Nations peoples literally buried their hatchets of warfare under the soil while planting a Great White Pine tree so as the tree grew they would be covered by its expansive branches spreading across the four directions.  Thus a warring, feuding peoples were united for peace and prosperity that lasted many generations. Warriors became peacemakers amongst their own peoples.

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The Iroquois League came about after many years of intertribal blood feuding amongst Iroquois speaking Native Americans at a time that predated the settling of White peoples in northeastern North America. As one version of this legendary story describes, Hiawatha was an Onandaga warrior whose wife and two daughters were murdered by a chief of his own village. Hiawatha wandered bereft in the woods in a state of desolation and grief; some say he feared he would become a cannibal, so great was his despair.

In the woods, some say while in a canoe on a lake, Hiawatha looked into the water and saw a godlike figure, Deganawida, looking back at him. (Another version says Deganawida was a man with a speech impediment that Hiawatha encountered while in the woods.) In any event, Deganawida shared the Condolence Ritual with Hiawatha to help him deal with his grief and to bring back to the Peoples to help them to allay their own grief. He also described how the tribes could unite to form a great League, with lifelong, wise delegates or sachems to be installed or deposed by the women of these matrilineal tribes. Deganawida also inspired the ritual for burying the hatchet, a symbolic putting aside of warfare for the sake of coming together as one Peoples, uniting in strength against their common enemies and fostering internal peace.

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This great League forged peace among the Six Nations of Iroquois that joined it; this peace lasted for many generations and still embues these Nations with deep principles of peace and democracy.

It has been said that the ceremonial act of burying the hatchet by the Iroquois peoples is one of the greatest examples of peacemaking in all of human history.

It took a Warrior who allied with and became himself a peacemaker to put aside warlike habits and attitudes in order to embrace unity, peace and the greater Good. If only West and East could BURY THE HATCHET today. At very least, you and I can do so. We can bury the hatchets brandished by any of our own feuding sub-selves, or within our outer community of fellowship. It takes only a CHOICE for the Warrior within you and me to stand up for Life and Peace, not Death or War.

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